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How alcohol affects your training.

For many a year we humans have been searching for new ways to alter our moods. Using food, sex and when that wasn’t enough trying whatever we could think of from sniffing stuff, smoking stuff or drinking stuff to get some sort of a high.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and is also socially acceptable (surprising if you watch folk on a night out).

And when it come to fitness there is an opposites attract relationship with this poisonous beauty. Sports themselves are a social activity by nature, and so is alcohol consumption. This creates a frenzy of after game nights out, or full out all day drinking.

And while over use of this marvelous creation of ours can be harmful to mental health, physical health and relationships with friends and loved ones, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t affect you too much. Although you may feel slightly worse for wear the following morning.

The problem is that as a nation, we take the piss with it. And push from a few drinks to being unable to drink anymore, stand or function as a person.

SO WHAT!?! You may ask. BUT OF COURSE IT DOES THATS WHY I DO IT!?! You may say. That’s cool, but if you’re trying your heart out to make progress in training, sports or battling weight issues then this will definitley hinder your progress.

I’m not going to go into fancy nonsense on chemical alterations, nutrient malabsorptions or pancreatic endocrine function. SO I WILL KEEP TO THE BASICS.

You will get hangovers. This can affect you for a few days and result in skipping training, eating crap, not eating at all and general crappy training sessions.

Alcohol affects the liver and how it converts vitamins you need. So if you weren’t already deficient in some vitamins you probably will be after a sesh.

Alcohol abusers tend to have lower testosterone levels. Most of us don’t want his to happen, so guys keep this in mind!

BEER GOGGLES. Enough said.

It causes a reduction in protein synthesis. Because less protein is being turned into muscle tissue you will not grow/ repair as you would otherwise. SO even if your goal isn’t “getting massive” your recovery will still suffer.

Alcohol intake slows glycogen metabolism. This means the brain receives less glycogen, so it doesn’t have much energy. If you’re not the fastest thinker at the best of times then drinking will not help you my friend!

CALORIE INCREASE. Full stop. If you are trying to lose fat then consuming copious amount of this wonderful beverage will push up your calorie count.

AVERAGE GLASS OF WINE – 150cal

AVERAGE PINT OF BEER – 200cal

AVERAGE DOUBLE SHOT – 65cal

Drinking five pints of lager a week adds up to 44,200kcal over a year, equivalent to eating 221 doughnuts. And then there’s the food choices around your night out, takeways, crisps at the bar it all adds up.

So be honest, you could EASILY over do it by 1500-2000 cal on a standard night out. That will put weight loss back massively! So if weight loss is your goal, cut it out and get on track before indulging.

ALL THAT BEING SAID….there are health benefits to MODERATE alcohol consumption. I’m not going to be your ENABLER but at a basic level it helps us unwind, relax and socialise with friends. A few pints with mates can stay at a few with some self control. A glass doesn’t have to turn into the bottle and a binge drinking session doesn’t excuse a binge eating session!

So keep this in mind, enjoy your drinks and if you go overboard then ignorance is not an excuse for not achieving your goals!

Happy Saturday!

p.s – If you are looking to get into shape and on track to success, give me a shout and we’ll see if we can get you ready in 2016!

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READING IS AWESOME

READING IS DREAMING WITH THE EYES!
It’s a great way to relax, expand your knowledge, escape from the world and relax before sleep.
Ditch your iphone and pick up a book (an e-reader aint the same but better than a phone!)

Reading before going to sleep is a great way of unwinding, de-stressing and getting a nice story in your nut before sleepy time! It also creates a sort of ritual and helps signal your body to prepare for sleep.

I know loads of people that are proud to say they don’t read fiction as if it’s a waste of time! The same people “never watch telly” but spends 8 hours a day on the internet. We get it, you’re too sophisticated for Walking Dead or G.O.T. Bet your family and other half love that about you….
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While TV can be a good way to chill and spend time with the other half or family, it doesn’t really shut down the body and mind like a good read.

Reading makes us sit still, concentrate on one thing and forget everything else.  Not much nowadays does that and people are constantly trying new ways to do so.

STOP LOOKING IT’S CALLED A BOOK!

As well as getting you to be still and quiet it also helps with improving your memory as Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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By removing yourself from distractions you’ll start to see things you really want to do and goals become clearer. Reading gives you clarity and allows your mind to wander giving you more chance to catch up with yourself and visualise life and what you want from it. It can also just be a good way to get in some crazy stories that will never be the same on film or TV.

Now if Fiction aint your thing then there are plenty of alternatives! Find something you enjoy, a sporting hero, a book on business or one of your hobbies. Whatever just read.

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I tend to hit the Fantasy genre for night time reading and business/fitness/nutrition during the day. I try to vary it up to keep from becoming bored of any one area and broaden my knowledge as much as possible. (The more I read the less I feel I Know).
One of my favourite authors has got to be Joe Abercrombie. If you like Game of Thrones then definitley give him a look up, The First Law Trilogy is fantastic, picked the first one up in Hay-on-Wye about 8 years ago and read every book of his since! Of all his characters Logen Ninefingers has got to be the best!

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If your looking for some training books Dan John has some great ones, Never Let Go being a favourite but he has a good selection.

Whatever you read, enjoy it. A lot of people don’t like reading because they’ve never found anything they like. If you get fed up with a book get another one! There are plenty out there, don’t waste your time if you’re not interested! I often start one, get bored, come back to it months,years later and really enjoy it. I don’t waste my time otherwise.

With Christmas coming up, why not stick a few books on your list. Folk always struggle to buy for each other so give them a hand and pick out a read. Amazon make it easy to find suitable books to your taste. I love buying in the real world and can spend an age in Waterstones (I still always check amazon to make sure i’m not paying double!).

So pick up a book today, expand your vocabulary, broaden your mind and relax your thoughts.

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And pick something you enjoy, otherwise why bother!

Euan MacNeil

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REAL WOMEN LIFT

It’s great to see that in the last few years that women taking part in weight training is not bizarre or new and is a common part of gym training with more women getting involved every month.5 Even better than just getting into weight training, more women want to get stronger! The misplaced belief that you’ll get huge by lifting weights is slowly being destroyed and women are being empowered by iron. The trend of girls training for “fat loss and toning” has been replaced by that of performing big lifts and getting more weight on the bar, both which hold great benefits for females. Whilst focusing on the big lifts like Squat, Deadlift and bench press there are many other ways to get stronger from bodyweight to kettlebells or suspension training. Your reps can be high reps to low, just make sure your intensity is always getting pushed! Don’t be afraid of getting ‘big and bulky’! Women do not, and cannot, naturally produce as much testosterone (one of the main hormones responsible for increasing muscle size) as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass by merely touching some weights. Female bodybuilders who look really bulky? Of course they do! They eat, train, and take “supplements” specifically so they can look like that! When you pick up heavy things, your muscles get STRONGER (not necessarily bigger). If you stuff yourself full of TESTOSTERONE and eat MORE CALORIES than you are burning every day, you will get BIGGER. 4 There are also many reasons for focusing on strength training and while I could write a novel on the subject I’m going to focus on 5 points in particular for today.

Firstly as you get older (it happens to us every day) you will start to lose muscle mass. Studies show that we lose ½ to 1 percent of our lean muscle mass each year and that this can start as early as our thirties (f@*k!) Muscle strength can also decline by 12 to 15 percent per decade. Luckily we can avoid this part of the aging process by regular weight training and health eating (if you’re not sure what this is I’ll add some tips in a bit). So forget all those expensive creams, your new ANTI AGING routine should include lifting!

Another benefit of Strength training, it will make you physically stronger (kinda in the name!). It can also help you become mentally stronger and confident to boot. This can often be due to the simple fact that as you become stronger you become less dependent on others for daily tasks you normally need help with, Empowerment by lifting! 3

Not only can your mental toughness improve, but strength training has been known to reduce clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counseling. Through studies relating to depression, over a period of 10 weeks subjects who had trained were in a better frame of mind than the subjects in the control group who did not. So get your 12 week programme together and feel the benefit physically and emotionally!

You can also improve your fitness by hoisting weight. No longer need you run endlessly on the treadmill to improve your fitness levels. Weight training improves your fitness levels, executive functions and memory performance. High intensity, short rest weight training has been shown to improve cardio vascular health along with strength. So if applied properly your strength training programme will simultaneously engage both the muscular system and the cardiovascular system, double whammy!

If your improving your muscular system and developing a better ratio of lean muscle throughout your body, your body will burn through calories more effectively. So YES, lifting weights will help you to battle and BURN FAT! Your type II muscle fibres (the kind you build when you lift weights) improve whole-body metabolism, an increase in these muscle fibres can reduce body fat without changes to diet and might be effective in the fight against obesity. That said following some of the tips below will help you get that result quicker.

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• GET ENOUGH CALORIES – Eat enough to support your activity levels but not promote bodyfat (keeping a food diary will help you judge this over the coming weeks) • BIN refined sugars completely (fruit is cool but sweets are not) • DONT FEAR CARBS (but eat the RIGHT kinds) • FATS ARE NOT THE ENEMY (just avoid the trans-fats) • ENJOY LEAN PROTEINS (Chicken, turkey, fish or some beef cuts) • Make sure you drink PLENTY OF WATER (more in hot weather or on training days) • EAT REAL FOOD – supplements are a good addition but they are SUPPLEMENTS! If you haven’t got a healthy balanced diet in place forget them for now. • SHOP THE PERIMETER – By keeping to the outer aisles of the supermarket your food choices are more likely to be whole and healthy and less processed. 1 So to sum up lifting weights can give you a STRONGER body, TOUGHER mind, make you FITTER, LEANER and make you feel ALIVE!

Just make sure that you train specific to your needs and ability.  Not sure what that is? Well, have a think of what you want to achieve and get in touch for a consultation. Ensure you’re on a path to progress and NOT destruction!

Good luck, and LIFT HEAVY, INTENSE and EAT WELL!

Euan MacNeil

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CHOOSE LIFE, CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS.

CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL INFLUENCES CAREFULLY, THEY CAN DICTATE WHO YOU ARE!

We all like to think we are in control of our lives and the way we live. But much of it is dictated by our surroundings and more importantlty the people in those surroundings!

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Jim Rohn

Now stop and have a think, who are the 5 people you spend most of your time with and how are they affecting me? Do these people share the same goals that I have for myself? Do they support me in my personal goals or do they give resistance to them?

We know about the affects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco on our health, but what about our friendships and social circles?

Often these are all related, as we tend to adopt our friends’ habits and interests, for the positive or the negative is to be determined!

So if you’re looking to improve your fitness, surrounding yourself with like minded people will often help with your chances of success. Whatever is the norm in your social group, usually becomes the norm for you too. Drinking, eating, sleeping patterns and even relationships can be determined by those you “hang around” with.
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This also counts for moods and thoughts, actions and habits, which is why it’s so important to surround yourself with people whose values and habits support your vision of who you want to be.

If you struggle to resist temptation, surrounding yourself with people who possess a high degree of self-discipline can help.

To be fit, surround yourself with fit people. To be positive and successfull…. OK you get the picture.

But not all social circles are negative and just because our friends don’t have the same dreams as us doesn’t mean you have to ditch them. There will also always be people you can’t escape from wether it be family or work colleagues, but you can try and influence them more or buffer their effect on you.

Feeling alone in your views? It may be time to include more like minded people in your life and get that ‘average of 5’ in your favour. This is where joining like minded groups, teams or talking to people with similar interests can really help you get to where you want to be.

With social networking becoming so huge there really is no excuse, but just remeber that Facebook friends can have just the same impact….

ALSO IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE NEGATIVE PEOPLE THEN THINK HOW YOUR ACTIONS AFFECT THOSE AROUND YOU!

Have a good one and stay positive!

Euan

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50 Shades of Gym

We all have big expectations of ourselves and that can be a good thing.

But we really should be patient when it comes to lifting weights.

Everyday I see people who have been training for a few months trying to quickly move up the dumbbell rack and lift like a veteran. Just like in that movie, they walk in as an innocent gym virgin and BANG. Faster than Usain Bolt out the starting blocks they’re covered in more straps and belts than an S+M hobbyist swinging and swaying as weights put their bodies into contorted positions.

Don’t be tempted by all the 50 Shades stuff. You know all those straps, belts, wraps and tassles that will help you lift more. Start by getting the basics right.

That fast start has an inevitablt outcome. Injury. Maybe not this session. Maybe not next month. But somewhere lying in wait like a sniper is that inevitable injury.

The gym is about training, not competition. In sport you compete at the event not on the “training” floor. Just because other folk are shifting more poundage than you doesn’t mean you should be. It takes time, technique, consistency and more time. Be patient and the weight will come.

So ask youself, have you taken time on the basics or just gone full 50 shades?

Even the top dogs started with the basics. Words like talented and gifted get thrown around a lot in sport. Gotta call BS on that! Sure some people may never reach Pro status, but the Pros did not get there by “talent”. They got there by a sh#t load of hard work and dedication along with years of consistency. Can you say you’ve done the same? You gotta aquire the skills cos you sure as hell aint going to inherit them!

By getting the basics right you are on the path to progress and strong lifting. Get em wrong and it’ll be difficult to fix later. If you’re uncertain of how to do something, forget youtube, mens health or your pal who has been training a wee bit longer than you, get a trainer! They’ll start you off and ensure you are on the right track and enable you to build from the foundations up.

Have a good weekend people and don’t run before you can walk.

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INTRODUCING MACNEIL FITNESS TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB!

MainThat’s right folks!

MacNeil Fitness has ventured away from  Future Fitness’s gym floor and now coming right at ya on the line!

I’ll be using this blog space to highlight topics on fitness and nutrition and offer up my opinions along with motivational training, nutrition ideas and occasionally vent my frustrations of the fitness industry.

So watch this space, read the words, take it in and enjoy because I’ll be coming back at you before you know it!

In the meantime, keep your eating clean and lifting dirty.

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